This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're teed up for a nine-game slate tonight, one with a few projected blowouts but plenty of intrigue in other spots, in part due to some potential big-name absences. There's a couple of particularly interesting interconference clashes on tap with the Lakers-Celtics and Bulls-Nuggets, with the possibility of a LeBron James return in the former. Scoring is projected to be fairly elevated by this season's standards, setting up what should be an entertaining night of DFS action.
Golden State Warriors (-8) at Detroit Pistons (O/U: 210.5 points)
Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets (-2.5) (O/U: 214.5 points)
Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics (-2) (O/U: 213.0 points)
Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets (-12.5) (O/U: 209.5 points)
Oklahoma City Thunder at Milwaukee Bucks (-13) (O/U: 214.5 points)
Los Angeles Clippers (-3.5) at New Orleans Pelicans (O/U: 215.0 points)
Chicago Bulls at Denver Nuggets (-3.5) (O/U: 210.5 points)
Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns (-8) (O/U: 212.0 points)
Toronto Raptors at Sacramento Kings (-3.5) (O/U: 218.5 points)
Despite the presence of a pair of double-digit spreads, the slate likely promises to be competitive. And as we've already seen early this season, there's always the possibility of high variance on any given night with teams like the Magic and Thunder - the two biggest underdogs - already proving capable of pulling upsets.
As already alluded to, injuries could play a significant part with the chances of Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic absences appearing especially high. While Golden State is more likely than not to manage without Curry against the Pistons, a Mavs side going into Phoenix without Doncic naturally faces much steeper odds.
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following is a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Stephen Curry, GSW (hip)/ Status: GTD
Curry was able to play through his hip injury Thursday against the Cavs and rack up 40 points, but he could sit tonight due to ongoing soreness. In such a scenario, the usage for Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green should see a significant bump while Gary Payton could start at point guard.
Luka Doncic, DAL (knee/ankle)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
If Doncic sits out as appears likely, Jalen Brunson and his 39.3 FD points over 37 minutes against the Suns Wednesday would be set for another run with the first unit. Tim Hardaway and Kristaps Porzingis would also be primed for significant bumps in usage.
Anthony Davis, LAL (thigh)/ Status: PROBABLE
Davis is fully expected to play through his thigh contusion and will be in for continued elevated usage if LeBron James sits again.
LeBron James, LAL (abdomen)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If James continues to miss time, Talen Horton-Tucker would draw another start at small forward after dropping over 40 FD points in the last two games.
Jaylen Brown, BOS (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Should Brown miss a seventh straight contest, Dennis Schroder should continue running with the first unit.
OG Anunoby, TOR (hip)/ Status: OUT
Other notable injuries:
Kyrie Irving, BRO (personal)/ Status: OUT
Zion Williamson, NOP (foot)/ Status: OUT
Nikola Vucevic, CHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Robert Williams, BOS (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Jalen Suggs, ORL (quadriceps)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Michael Porter, DEN (back)/ Status: OUT
Chris Duarte, IND (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
P.J. Washington, CHA (elbow)/ Status: OUT
Frank Kaminsky, PHO (knee)/ Status: OUT
Brook Lopez, MIL (back)/ Status: OUT
Kelly Olynyk, DET (knee)/ Status: OUT
Precious Achiuwa, TOR (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Alex Caruso, CHI (wrist)/ Status: PROBABLE
Nicolas Batum, LAC (Achilles)/ Status: OUT
Joe Harris, BRO (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Marcus Morris, LAC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Nicolas Claxton, BRO (illness)/ Status: OUT
Paul Millsap, BRO (personal)/ Status: OUT
We have eight players with five-figure salaries on Friday's slate – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400), Nikola Jokic ($11,300); Stephen Curry ($10,800), Luka Doncic ($10,700), Kevin Durant ($10,500), Anthony Davis ($10,300), Paul George ($10,100) and LeBron James ($10,000).
Giannis is coming off having generated 64.3 FD points against the Lakers in a marquee matchup Wednesday despite the return of Khris Middleton. He should once again be very popular in an appealing scenario against the Thunder despite the blowout risk.
Jokic continues to run roughshod over any opponent and has produced a pair of 60 FD-point tallies in the last four outings along with a season average of 55.4. His matchup against a depleted Bulls frontcourt should keep him well in reach of delivering a strong return even with a hefty salary.
The statuses of Curry and Doncic don't look very encouraging as noted earlier, with Doncic particularly very unlikely. Curry would also likely play somewhere less than his usual allotment of minutes if he did take the floor against the Pistons in a matchup Golden State could win handily.
Durant has ticked down to 27.5 and 31.3 FD points in his last two contests and is facing a Magic team that could fall behind by a notable margin to Brooklyn, thereby making him somewhat more risky than usual.
Davis faces a tough positional matchup on paper against the Celtics frontcourt, but does have a height advantage on both Al Horford and Robert Williams - the latter questionable due to a knee injury. However, Davis' ceiling would decrease if LeBron James is active.
George has posted at least 40 FD points in five of his last six games as he continues to shoulder the primary offensive burden without Kawhi Leonard (knee). He could be in for another heavy workload in a game against the Pelicans that oddsmakers project as very close despite the seven-win difference between the clubs.
James is questionable, as noted earlier. And if he does see action, there could be a minutes limit after missing the last eight contests.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the previous section, other likely chalk plays include:
James Harden, BRO ($9,900)
The resurgent Harden is coming off having posted 52.5 FD points against the Cavs on Wednesday while also seeing a drop in salary back into the high four figures, both factors which should help keep him very popular.
Russell Westbrook, LAL ($9,500)
Westbrook would be in line for at least a slight hit in usage if James returns to action, but he continues to boast a very reliable floor that should keep him in plenty of lineups.
Jayson Tatum, BOS ($9,300)
Tatum may continue operating without Jaylen Brown (hamstring) and has produced between 44.7 and 51.3 FD points in four of the last five games while locking in his spot on many rosters.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL ($9,000)
Porzingis went off for 49.1 FD points without Doncic Wednesday and also has recorded tallies of 48.4 and 53.7 in the last two. With Doncic likely out again tonight, the big man should be a popular choice.
If Curry sits, both Green and Wiggins would likely be the biggest beneficiaries in terms of more usage and opportunity at what are reasonable salaries.
Reggie Jackson, LAC at NOP ($6,300)
As mentioned earlier, the Clippers-Pelicans matchup is expected to be competitive despite the disparity in the teams' records, and Jackson could be in position to overdeliver on a value salary. The veteran point guard has been a steady contributor throughout the season despite some shooting inefficiency and checks in averaging 31.8 FD points over his last nine outings, a sample where he's shot 37.6 percent from distance. The Pelicans come in allowing the NBA's highest offensive efficiency to point guards (30.5 percent) and second-most FD points per game to the position (51.4), while also yielding a Western Conference-high 47.4 percent shooting overall.
Dennis Schroder, BOS vs. LAL ($5,900)
Even if Jaylen Brown makes it back from his hamstring injury, Schroder is likely to have a solid allotment of minutes off the bench or perhaps even remain in the starting five if his teammate is eased back in. Either way, he faces an appealing matchup against a Lakers squad allowing an NBA-high 52.1 FD points per game to point guards along with the second-highest offensive efficiency in the league to the position (29.5 percent). Schroder has already delivered over 5x his current salary in 10 of 15 games this year, with five of those filling a bench role.
Tim Hardaway, DAL at PHO ($5,800)
Although Porzingis was a beneficiary of Doncic's absence Wednesday, Hardaway also saw a significant increase in offensive responsibility and delivered by posting 35.4 FD points against the same Suns squad he'll tangle with tonight while putting up a season-high 23 shot attempts. The veteran wing has managed five tallies of over 30 FD points while Phoenix is allowing 39.7 FD points per game to two-guards along with the fifth-highest three-point shooting percentage of any team on its home floor (36.9 percent).